Don’t bottle it.
Hand up if you are a feeling bottler?
Or a, ‘i’ll deal with that later’ brushing the feeling away bottler. Perhaps you are a ‘feel all feels’ all at once and get overwhelmed bottler.
We are all probably a mix of all of these ‘feelers’ at different times in our lives. Truth is, we may all be ‘bottlers’, in some way and at some time. Wether you brush feelings under the carpet not knowing how to deal with them or wether you have found a process that leaves you overwhelmed and out of the game for days, these are all ways of not quite ‘facing’ feelings in a healthy way.
Feelings are information (this is written with no undermining here). When faced the information they hold is read meaning you can move forward enriched in some way or experienced to enrich another.
There are so many adults not knowing how to be with their feelings that they are not always dissolved, showing up in other forms of mobility. It means our children are not getting the guidance and learning they need in the present moment.
To read our children in a given moment enables their inner being to grow strong.
To navigate the world we need (yup, a need, you have those dear care-giver) we need to know the terrain of ourselves, we need to be comfortable with our own feeling first so we can guide from a safe place.
This is how we will make a generation of individuals who feel understood, connected and entrusted so they can trust themselves and the information around them.
This information is valuable, it gives feedback; Feedback, so they can trust themselves and their own intuition. Many don’t have that foundation, many look to the feedback to build who they are rather than the feedback to allow them to adjust. Perhaps this is why the rise in social media has highlighted a mass desire to connect to others and be ‘liked’. What we want our children to have is the foundations in life that gives them the chance to understand themselves with self respect and love. That, that takes guidance from adults who are present in the moment so they are free to read their children rather then reading a repetitive loop of ‘their own’ feelings at the time and projecting.
You may of grown around people with no boundaries with their feelings, so the house you grew up in felt ‘off’ in some way. Perhaps care-givers brushed their feelings aside or bottled them up meaning the whole house was disconnected from one another, yet, everyone felt the uncomfortableness that something was up and no one knew what to do about it.
Perhaps there was no leader/experienced adult.
Perhaps you grew around adults who would feel overwhelm with their feelings leading to anger or emotional distress when having to navigate anyone else’s but their own.
When we as adults are being presented with our own feelings to read with no expereince of what they may be telling us or how to navigate them when they are not comfortable to feel, then care-givers become more likely to over-react to a situation with a child. The overreaction results in projecting their fear onto the child instead of reading the child and the moment as the fresh page they are and it is.
The danger of this is the feedback the child then recieves isnt relevant to reality in real time. This can leave children feeling disjointed with reality and potentially mis-understood.
If there are many people in that childs life who are projecting fear from bottled emotions rather then giving presence then that child will learn to override their own innate intuition and intelligence. Growth in some way will be stunted (to be addressed later in life) and they will feel incredibly misunderstood. This is potentially a little dangerous, it leaves them vulnerable in the world. It leaves them vulnerable to the outside world and its opinions about who they are instead of having learnt the gold of their own sense of self and self trust.
When good foundations are there they can connect and adjust accordingly with the world around them, learning who they are and who they are not in a healthy, much safer way.
So what can we/you/I do about it?
We learn how to navigate our own feelings and selfs.
We own our feelings.
Read those last two sentences again.
Thats the most powerful thing we can do.
Perhaps you have been doing this work for a few years already or, maybe you are just looking to start. It is perhaps the most feared area to look at and so the area least looked at, however when done safely, it can be profound and life changing.
It can be uncomfortable at times, and that is why gentleness, non-judgment and safety are necessary. If those three things you can only find in yourself to start with, stick with it.
Feelings come up when we make motion. If feeling numb in an area of life take courage and move. Take this work in manageable pieces. Get out, move more, b r e a t h e better. Talk to those safe and trusted, take a break. Learn to navigate what you can and what you want to work with with your time. Your time is precious, make how you spend it worth life while.
Through this learning one then learns how to know when their ego needs to be pulled back in line or when to push themself out of comfort and naff outdated stories they are carrying.
Who of you have heard the words of Lao Tzu a few times now? they have lasted so strong because they are true.
“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
Remember, feelings are information. When we are able to healthily process them the information they hold will dissipate either enriching us or enabling us to do something that will enrich another.
May you learn to navigate feelings in the calm assertive way you are born to so that the next generation we all teach may be enriched with feeling safe, understood and loved in the world so they can confidently trust in themselves and the world around them.